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Parenting young children is one of the greatest challenges you will have to deal with. I know many parents of teenagers who complain about raising teens, but I think that if they reflected on what it was like to have a baby for even a moment, they would be thankful that their kids and started growing up. Raising young children is one of the most important and complex things that you can ever do. Everything you do affects your kids. If you pay too little or too much attention to them, if you overstimulate them or understimulate them, or if you don't teach them the right lessons early in life, it will stick with them throughout their whole lives.
Unfortunately, most people don't have the resources to go through systematic training for effective parenting. Many people actually get thrown into parenting young children, not adequately planning to have a child. Others don't reflect enough on the realities of being a parent, assuming that it will be easy and natural. In some ways it is easy and natural. You instinctively know to hold a child when it is crying, you know to feed it when is hungry, and sometimes you can anticipate its needs in uncanny and fascinating ways. There is a natural bond between mother, father, and child in the human species.
Nonetheless, the more you know about the young children before you have to raise them yourself, the better off you are. Children go through a series of different developmental ages where different things are necessary. When they are very young, the main interest is learning to interact with their environment and slowly gaining independence. They need to have plenty of different toys to play with and geometrical shapes to experiment with, as well as the constant attention of their parents.
They need to feel nurtured and safe so that they can gradually expand their world view, exploring more and more outside influences.
In this respect, parenting young children is like parenting toddlers, teenagers, or any other age group. ultimately, children are people who are trying to develop a fuller grasp and understanding of the world. They aren't any different than everyone else, they are just at a different level than adults are. When you are parenting a young child, you have to understand what that child is capable of, what he isn't capable of, and what he needs.
The skills you need for parenting young children are not fundamentally different than the skills you need with middle schoolers, preteens, adults, and anyone else you might have to care for. The difference, of course, is the degree. Young children are extremely helpless in a way that other people aren't. Nevertheless, if you remember that they are just like you and me, parenting young children will be easier for you.

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